BRADEN RIVER — Five months ago, doctors told Dylan Lee he wouldn’t be able to take the baseball field this spring.
After tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during football season, the Braden River High senior outfielder and first baseman assumed the worst.
“The doctors told me no baseball, so I thought, ‘If I can’t play then that (means) no scholarship,’” Lee says.
But, after five months of an intense rehabilitation regimen, Lee is back on the diamond and ready to help lead the Pirates to what he hopes will be a state title run.
In addition to defying the odds and making it back in time for his senior season, Lee also secured his childhood dream of earning a college scholarship.
On Jan. 24, Lee signed a national letter of intent to play baseball for St. Johns River State College in Palatka.
“It’s a relaxing feeling (knowing) I don’t have to think so much when I play this year,” Lee says.
Lee, who plans to study medicine or education next year, wanted to play for the Junior College Athletic Association and liked the coaches’ loyalty, not only to the baseball program, but to the school, itself.
He began playing baseball when he was 3 years old, and it wasn’t long before he developed a passion for the game.
Then, nine years after he first walked onto the diamond, Lee played arguably one of his best games: He hit a pair of home runs and pitched a no-hitter in the same game in Cooperstown Dreams Park.
“I was 12 years old, so I didn’t think it was a big deal at the time,” Lee says.
Since then, he has become one of the Pirates’ most dominant hitters. He holds the school record of seven home runs.
“I just like the feeling of having all of the attention on me when I’m up to bat,” Lee says.
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Food and fun
The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and its Young Leaders Alliance have something to talk about: the organizations collected 764 pounds of nonperishable food and $1,295 cash to benefit The Food Bank of Manatee/Meals on Wheels PLUS.
River Club’s Cheryl Kaufman says she’s still pinching herself.
A little “Ho! Ho! Ho!” can go a long way this holiday season.